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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How did I live on this planet


almost 48 years without knowing Juan Felipe Herrera's work? I mean, he was all grown up and writing poetry in 1970, when I was most ready, at age nine, to receive his wisdom and wit.

I was looking all over for a poem to start my English 101 class with the food sustainability theme (a course I am currently designing). My books are going to be Peter Singer and James Mason's The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter and Jennifer 8. Lee's The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, but I wanted to start off with at least one poem that shows how food can not only be grown sustainably but sustain our heritage, our culture, and our imaginations (for if we cannot imagine such a thing as world unity, how can we ever achieve it?). SO, although I was (rather guiltily) reading Herrera instead of finalizing my syllabus, I ended up finding the poem I've been looking for--hurrah!

How to
Make World
Unity Salsa

Mash the pulp
Mash the pulp
Mash the pulp
Add a burned tomato & a rock of garlic
Add a burned tomato & a rock of garlic
Mash the pulp
In the black stone bowl
Mash the pulp
In the black stone bowl
Put your hand into it
Put your wrist into it
Put your shoulders into it
Mash the pulp in the black stone bowl
Mash the pulp in the black stone bowl
Put your hips into it
Put your hips into it
Char another chile
Char another chile
Mash the pulp
In the molcajete
Mash the pulp
In the molcajete
Just a pinch of salt
Just a pinch of salt
Pour the soup from the tomato heart
Pour the soup from the tomato heart
Now throw your head back twice
Now throw your head back twice
Mash the pulp in the molcajete
Mash the pulp in the molcajete
Mash the pulp in the molcajete
Yellow chile
Red chile
Green chile
Black chile
Brown chile wrinkled
White garlic
Black chile
Green chile
Red chile
Brown chile wrinkled
Yellow chile
Now throw your head back twice
Now throw your head back twice
Breathe baby
Breathe baby
Breathe baby
Breathe baby
Your fingers on the rock
Your palm on the stone
Your eyes on the inside
Your bones on the soul

7 comments:

Kells said...

It's so great to find a new (old) poet. "Put your hips into it" will be my motto for the rest of the year.

thanks for sharing this.

Martha Silano said...

He is so fun, so smart, so full of surprising turns and images . . . and I love that he's funny/political = always a winning combo in my book.

seana said...

I would love to hear him read this poem. Even better, I would love to see him read this poem.

Martha Silano said...

Oh, me too. I'm going to google around and see if I can find an audio of this or any of his. It must be so powerful to hear him read live!

seana said...

Please post the link if you find one.

Martha Silano said...

I found a great reading on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8Ben-1n5zQ.

seana said...

It took me till now to get to it, but, god, that reading was incredible. Thanks for digging it up.